Date of Graduation

Spring 2023


Master of Natural and Applied Science in Biology



Committee Chair

Alexander Wait


Giant cane (Arundinaria gigantea) is a native species to 22 states in the U.S. The species and its ecosystem are considered critically endangered, and the species has been reduced to 2% of its original extent. The species has a long cultural and conservation history. Large canebrakes were commonly found in Missouri in bottomland forests, stream and riverbanks, and margins of lakes. My research goals were to: 1) examine methods for propagation success from field to greenhouse to field; 2) examine the physiology of cane at one of the few current canebrakes, for greenhouse propagated plants, and field planted cane; and 3) develop an allometric equation to estimate biomass of a current canebrake allowing biomass estimation from non-destructive measurements. I used the number of shoots produced (new growth) as a metric for propagation success. The number of new shoots depended on rhizome length, watering regime, and whether propagation was attempted with the rhizome alone or with an existing culm. I recorded 100% propagation success from every rhizome with culm cut at 2nd internode, 25% propagation success from non-regular watering rhizome alone and 90% propagation success with regular watering on rhizome alone. Leaf chlorophyll of A. gigantea values ranged from 329 umol/m2 in sun leaves to 354 umol/m2 in shade leaves in October 2022. During a mild drought summer 2022, leaves-maintained water potential of -1.8 MPa with photosynthetic rates as high as 12 umol CO2/m2 /s. Biomass models based on pole diameter and height were established, allowing an estimate of carbon storage. I estimated that 5.8 metric tons of carbon was stored by a 0.17 ha canebrake at Mincy Conservation Area. My data provide baseline data for understanding the role of A. gigantea and canebrakes in ecosystem functioning in existing canebrakes, and habitats where A. gigantea could be restored.


biomass, photosynthesis, chlorophyll, propagation, carbon sequestration, photosynthetically active radiation, model

Subject Categories

Biology | Botany | Plant Biology | Plant Sciences


© Sanjeev Sharm

Open Access